DALLAS (AP) Dawson Mercer, Timo Meier and Tomas Nosek all scored in the first 5:12 of the second period as the New Jersey Devils broke open a close game for a 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

Jake Allen allowed two goals on Dallas’ first three shots on goal but went unscathed afterward to finish with 35 saves, some from point-blank range, in his first start for New Jersey since being acquired from Montreal last week.

“Not a good first seven minutes, not by myself,” said Allen, 33. “But I wanted to dig in for this group, make a good first impression, try to do the best I could do for them. They supported me, gave me some goal support there in the second.”

Mercer broke a 2-2 tie following a spinning move at the crease at 1:30 of the middle period, and Meier’s score at 3:52 chased Stars starter Jake Oettinger, who made only six saves. Nosek greeted replacement Scott Wedgewood by scoring from beyond the left faceoff circle at 5:12 for his first goal this season. Wedgewood stopped eight shots in a little more than 38 minutes.

Meier and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist and Erik Haula and Alexander Holtz also scored for the Devils, who were outshot 37-20.

Wyatt Johnston and Craig Smith scored for the Stars, who were trying to bounce back from Thursday’s 4-3 home loss to Florida after leading 3-0. Oettinger, who made the All-Star team for the first time this season, allowed three third-period goals in that game.

The Devils, 2-3-0 under interim coach Travis Green, are four points out of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Dallas and Colorado have 89 points each atop the Central Division, the Stars having played one more game.

Allen is the fifth goalie to play this season for the Devils, who went into the game last in the league with an .882 team save percentage.

The Stars and Devils each scored on their first shot on goal, Johnston just 15 seconds in and Haula at 5:41.

Smith put the Stars back ahead from near the goal line and the boards sending the puck toward the net and off Allen’s right skate and between his pads at 12:04 of the first. Tierney scored from behind the Stars’ net on a puck that was knocked in by the Stars’ Miro Heiskanen at 17:14.

Dallas has recent experience rallying from three goals down. The Stars trailed 6-3 at San Jose on March 5, scored three times in 2:44 and won in overtime. But Holtz made it 6-2 at 14:25 of the third.

“If you’re going to play that game (trailing by three), you’re not going to be able to do that (rally to win) every night,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said.

Johnston’s goal was his 25th, one more than last season when he tied for the most among rookies.


Devils: At Arizona on Saturday.

Stars: Hosts Los Angeles on Saturday night.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.